Sometimes I get to thinking too much and it makes my head hurt. When Tess was with me I’d play some bump and run with her and forget about what made me sad. Now I’m sad because Tess isn’t with me anymore.
I’m so grateful I have Journey. She can’t replace Tess but she has such a sunny spirit she always makes me smile. When I look at her I see myself as a pup.
Now I’m raising a pup of my own. I’m Uncle Ash to Journey and she looks at me with the same trust I felt for Codie.
What’s making me sad is thinking about all the mutts that have passed through Asherpark. It feels like one loss after another starting with my beloved Aunt Codie, who helped raise me from a pup and taught me my manners.
We said good-bye to Shiloh two weeks ago. We all knew her end was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We only had Shi for three years, but she’ll stay in our hearts forever.
Shiloh lived a lot longer than anyone expected. She was diagnosed with cancer eighteen months ago. We were told she might only have a few months to live, but that little mutt fooled everybody.
On her last day Shiloh told me she wanted to talk to me. We wandered down by the front gate while Journey was busy chasing flies. Shiloh lay in the cool green grass and sniffed the wind.
Shiloh said she was ready to give up her body and become a spirit dog. She said she wasn’t afraid to die but she worried about leaving the rest of us behind.
“You have a great big bark but you’re really a big softie,” Shiloh said. “You’ve wept for every dog who’s crossed over.”
It’s true. I’ve loved every mutt who has called Asherpark home. I miss them all terribly.
“I know you’re gonna cry when I go, Ash. That’s okay. Your tears show me how much I mattered to you,” Shiloh said.
“I love you, Shiloh!” I blurted out.
“I know, Ash. I love you too,” Shiloh whispered.
Shiloh straightened up her crooked back. She lifted her head high and let the breeze blow through her beautiful creamy fur.
“Courage, Ash. When you think of me I want you to remember my courage. I had everything going against me, but I never gave up. Don’t you give up either,” Shiloh implored.
We walked slowly back to the house. It was all I could do to keep from blubbering.
“I promise, Shiloh. I promise.”